Animation - Day 1 (recap)

Click for 7-class Syllabus (.doc)

Click for 'release agreement' for students without a Gmail/Google email account - allowing for access to

Notes from Instructor for Day 1:

To: Students, starting with spring animation class 
Frm:  Alex Hamil – Continuing Education Instructor – KCAI 
RE: “Welcome/Introduction” 
- Check students 'off' as they enter the room / confirm ALL contact information / provide parent (if available) with the 'agreement' letter.
- provide passkeys and indications as to the restrooms and drinking fountains
- please, no cell-phones or I-Pods for the first class (turn them off)
- There will be a break around 7:15pm (an hour from now)

6:15 (start) First of all, welcome!  This is a first for ALL of us, myself included.  You are the first students to participate in this classroom space, Kansas City Art Institutes Northland Facility for Continuing Education.  It was getting a little ‘crowded’ on the main campus, so we’ve moved a number of classes up here – to get out of the hustle and bustle of everyday ‘college’ life and open up the potential of MORE classes for you students.

I encourage you to consider your fortune in being here – and its not because I’m your instructor, but the benefit is that you are getting additional experience beyond your current high school setting – and that’s pretty cool.  The experience will provide you with an ‘deeper’ understanding of the potentials that exist in your developing goals and directions for study while in high school and beyond, possibly college or eventually entering into a career – and cross your fingers, hopefully in the visual arts.

What are some of your experiences?

• Have any of you taken classes outside of your high school, either through KCAI or in another program, community college? 

Before you answer, this is a process of ‘sharing’, its not for you to ‘brag’ about yourself and your dedication, I’ll know those ‘dedicated’ students when I meet them.  Your goal in sharing is to provide understanding, first of all – about yourself, but also – in our ‘listening’ as a class, our understanding as to the other potentials that exist beyond our high school classroom.

I’ll start – (and pretend I’m once again 15 years old).  My name is Alex Hamil and I go to Ruskin High School (South Kansas City).  “Last summer I took a class in cartooning at Penn Valley Community College.  It wasn’t so much the class that I enjoyed as much as it was having access to some video editing equipment after class.”  (additionally) We also had access to these things called ‘computers’ which weren’t a part of the class – where you could draw, using a mouse and print the pictures you made.”

I’m serious in saying this.  This is important information for you – One, technology is out there, especially today.  All you have to do is be willing to ‘find’ it.

*Go around the room – learn the student’s names, school, etc. 

Okay, now that we’ve shared about our extracurricular experiences (beyond HS classes), you are going to understand a little about this class and what OUR goals are in here.

This is a survey course – and by survey, I want you to understand that it is fairly ‘basic’ and at an introductory level.  I know that some of you possess a stronger level of animation experience than others – but, it is your responsibility to ‘share’ this knowledge whenever possible with your classmates, not hold it over their heads.  

6:30 to 6:45

(*Pass out the sketchbooks, pens and pencils) - pre writing assignment / "list what you know about software and hardware" /"as I mention items, 'jot' those on your list as I 'jog' your memory.

What is hardware?

What is software?

Defining the basic vocabulary of computer usage, take an assessment of student’s knowledge (vocabulary) when operating a computer.  The goal is to make a connection with the students that computers are a tool and the tools generate their ideas.  The use of a computer requires both hardware and software.

Examples of hardware include anything that you can ‘touch’: mouse, keyboard, monitor, system unit (includes – CPU/ProcessorHard DriveRAM/Memory, now – CD or DVD drives and burners), scanners and printers.

Examples of software include the ‘interactivity’ with the aforementioned devices: Operating Systems (Mac/OS 10, PC/Windows XP), Browsers (IE/AOL/Netscape/Mozilla) for using Internet Content, Image Editing Software (Photoshop/Image Ready), Scanner Software (VistaScan) otherwise all are known as applications.  Plug-Ins such as Acrobat Reader (.pdf), Media Player (.mp3 and .mov), Quicktime (.mov) and Flash Player (.swf) are softwares that provide for media rich content to be viewed through the computer.

*Demonstrate a simple flash movie (.swf not .fla) – wikipedia offers a bouncing ball that by using Flash Player, the viewer can grab and hold an object providing for interactivity.  Show the actionscript (programming language) that controls this environment.  Also show the scripting sequence that will allow for web pages to have Flash incorporated into their web pages.  Example #2: /(pull-down menu)view>source code.  Look for embedded scripting.

**Plagiarism – using someone else’s information/source code for your web page/html.  It's done 'A LOT' in the programming world, building on other software - you need to know that this is almost ALWAYS agreeable as long as either intitial 'credit' is given to the author or you are a student, exercising educative content only. 

*Take an evaluation of the students knowledge by having them fill out a brief summary of their experience with hardware and software.  Give a brief description of their ‘goals’ with this class.  What do they come thinking they’ll learn and want to learn as a result of this experience.

This class will end with an exploration of the Internet and the various uses of the software Flash (Flash application and player are two separate items – often used together).  Students can look for the embedded source code (identify) on web pages that authenticates the authors use of Flash (.swf) movies or interactive Flash games which often contain 'action script'Java or both.

***The assignment for this week is to bring an image (drawing) to class for scanning into the computer and saving as an image file for later usage.  This will introduce the student to the concepts of: Hardware (scanners), Software (ImageScan, Photoshop, ImageReady) for developing their own Internet content.  Images should be the size of an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper and not contain any color (if possible).  Students will use Photoshop to ‘fix’ and fill their images with color.  Students may make a Xerox of their image if they want to explore color options.

7pm to 7:15pm - "The future of education" (preparing yourself for your future education)

It is said that ‘no goal is ever achieved alone’.  I honestly believe this.  I don’t consider myself as much an ‘educator’ as I do a facilitator.  My goal is to provide access to the equipment, some formative knowledge at the end of each class – and to make sure we wrap it up by 9pm so you can get home for school the next day.  You are just as much a part of this machine as I am.  I am giving you an equal share in the success of this class just as much as I am willing to share the blame if we don’t succeed as a class.

Knowledge is a process of attaining and disseminating information.  Disseminate means to process and share your understanding with others.  Until you share your understanding – understanding does not actually exist.  And, when you share, you have to share effectively, which means understanding your audience, being willing to enter into a dialogue with them.  Being open to an exchange of ideas and understanding.  Be willing to take criticism, both positive and negative and adjust your message accordingly until a similar understanding exists on a part of your audience.

As artists, animators and designers – it is not our goal to create as much as it is to communicate.  “Have you ever stood in front of a painting and said, I don’t get it?”  To me, this is a failure on the part of the artist to communicate with their audience – even if its ‘abstract’ art.  In television, especially commercials – if your audience has a similar, “I don’t get it?” attitude, you’ve failed in this effort as well.  To be a successful artist, animator or designer – you have to understand ‘who your audience is’ and ‘orient your message to their level of understanding’ – which it’s said that in television is around 12 years old.

This course is still in the process of being ‘set up’, much like this building or the classroom – unfinished.  Each class changes based on the students, their attitudes, the resources and my level of preparation prior to the start of each class.  This class is currently set up to capitalize on the potentials that are out there.  YOU are going to build on your understanding through basic vocabulary (I encourage you to take more than ‘mental’ notes for later review) and various lab exercises, which by the end of this class you will have NO LESS than five animations that we can (and will) post online through   

Animation1      Animation2        (This is posted at the bottom of ‘blog’)

“I have seen the future of education!” 

(establish credibility with the following:)  As an admissions coordinator, classroom educator and visual art curriculum developer, I understand the power of the Internet and the provisions of Information Technology.

Online classes will be your classroom in the future.  No longer will you be require to travel on a set schedule to a boring lecture that only covers the textbook you’ve already read.  I hope this doesn’t come off as negative – its where you are right now.  But you are no longer expected to work strictly from a textbook.  You know that other sources exist for your understanding (we will begin the process of online researching for examples, tutorials and possible software downloads).

The compromise to this will be the social interaction that the classroom provides, which is my introduction to you regarding ‘blogs’.

(take a 5 minute break) – but before we do – I’m going to give you a chance to think and possibly ‘share’ . . .  If no one shares – go to / or for access.

7:15 to 8pm What are some of your experiences (using 'blogs')?

• Who knows what ‘blogs’ are and/or what do they provide?  Who has a ‘blog’ and can we ‘pull it up’?   Take 5 minutes to stretch your legs – get some water, restrooms are around the corner – and ‘don’t lock the door behind you’ – honor system.

-       Share some student blogs – share our blog / and discuss the release form.

-       Who already has a Gmail account?  What are you using it for (websites, email, blogs)?

*(Students) Login and share your experiences with computers and software (in class).

*Assignment 1 (and 2): To conduct a little research as to what is out there.  Free sites for tutorials are usually my first stop when I get a new software.  These are pretty prolific and give you a chance at seeing the potentials that are out there.

Get students to the site ‘blog’ and prepare to cover the material for class (discussing software and hardware – and then allow them to share).  Bookmark this site in Safari (or Mozilla) for future reference – set up a folder called ‘Animation Class’ for saving various sites that they come across in their research.

- your homework for this week is to simply ‘bring back’ information.  Since you can’t ‘bookmark’ – copy and paste the information that you find, even if it just one thing – to the response page for the assignments 1 and 2.


8pm to 8:30  Beginning to use animation software:   Lab (in class assignment - 30 minutes):  Now that we’ve discussed the hardware and software for this class, we are going to begin learning some vocabulary (using Flash as a reference tool). 

*Setup sheet with dialogue: 

Elements: Stage, Timeline, Toolbox, Library, Properties, etc.  (these are fixed)

Elements: Keyframes, FPS (frames per second), Layers, Objects (vs. Shapes) (These items will change – according to you the animator)

*Start with a simple shape using the toolbox and placing this shape (not object) on the stage:

-       Note the keyframe – initiating the element as an independent layer as well.

-       We can move our TI (timeline indicator) to frame 30 (and at 30 fps) we can watch this item move from A (insert point) to B (end point).

-       We can rotate the object and apply a ‘motion tween’ to the sequence – indicated my the ‘arrow’ and the software creates the movements in between.

8:30 to 9pm  Wrapping it up (20 minutes) - include a 'review' of posting to the web blog by going to the items listed below.

(Try and have an initial time available* to show the video on animating a character in Flash:

*Start this online tutorial with the time remaining / encouraging students to do the same in finding their own information on animation, web sites, and blog this for the next class.  Additional items to inspire research are listed below and students can simply post 'replies' to the various links listed.

Posted on the blog (as Thursday, February 12, 2009)Animation Class - Day 1 (assignments)):

I added the following items to your research potential. Click on the hyperlinks’ (as I referenced them in class):

**Remember to bring a B&W drawing (in your sketchbook) to class. If you want to (or can) Xerox it for a color 'comp'. We'll use Photoshop when everybody has done this assignment (and when we have acca scanner).

Subpages (1): Parental Consent